The Gospel of Love and Service

This former U.S. Marine returned years later to the streets of Iraq. His newfound faith in Jesus gave him the strength to help his former enemies see the love of Christ and learn about the Savior. In Touch Messengers in Arabic helped him spread God’s Word with those who might otherwise never hear it.

A former U.S. Marine and brand-new Christian, Sky Barkley needed discipleship and a new direction. Enveloped by the remote beauty of the Colombian Amazon, Sky doubted those needs could be met anytime soon. But within days of his conversion, a man emerged from the dense forest who would change the trajectory of Sky’s life.

Messenger Lab - SkySky demonstrates how to use the Messenger to his friend Omar and his family.

Missionary Russ Turner had been summoned to that very secluded spot to teach at a pastor training event. Equipped with In Touch Messengers for the seminar participants, Russ spared one for Sky and spent time discipling the young man whenever he had a free moment. Though their connection only lasted a week, this unexpected encounter ultimately led Sky back to the combat zone to which he swore he’d never return: Iraq. But this time, he carried with him an internal peace that couldn’t be touched by the chaos of war.

Messenger Lab - SkyRescued by the Free Burma Rangers from an active war zone, Ghofran Khaled stands with the aid of crutches while she poses with her friends, Sky and Noelle Barkley.

Messenger Lab - SkyCrouched on the floor, Sky shares with a man whom the Free Burma Rangers rescued during an intense firefight.

Messenger Lab - SkyDuring a rescue operation with the Iraqi army, Sky escorts a group of soldiers carrying a wounded comrade.

As a volunteer with the Free Burma Rangers, Sky and his wife, Noelle, worked alongside the Iraqi army to rescue, treat, and protect people who suffered under the siege of ISIS. In between dodging bullets and carrying the wounded to safety, Sky shared his faith with soldier and civilian alike. And with Messengers and micro SD cards in Arabic, Sky was able to give away the same invaluable discipleship content that he himself received from Russ Turner years ago in the Amazon.

Harkening back to his days swinging in a hammock in the jungle, Sky recalls listening to the Messenger: “It gave me my initial understanding of how to live like a Christian. We love God and obey His commands—loving and serving others: that is the gospel.”

Serve one another humbly in love.
—Galatians 5:13 NIV


Messenger Lab - SkyOn a return visit to Iraq, Sky and another man unload a generator, a gift for their friend Omar and his family.

Living out that simple message had a profound impact on Sky’s Iraqi comrades, most of whom professed Islam. “I want everybody to know what it is like to live with Christ inside,” says Sky. And as he distributed Messengers and micro SD cards to those he’s served and suffered alongside, he always acknowledged his original marching orders: “I’m here because God loves you, Jesus changed my heart, and He taught that the best thing we could do is love each other.”

And love like that can only come through faith, the kind that doesn’t just reach toward heaven but also brings heaven to earth —“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:43-45).

“[The Messenger] gave me my initial understanding of how to live like a Christian. We love God and obey His commands—loving and serving others: that is the gospel.”

—Sky Barkley


Messenger Lab - SkyOmar, an Iraqi citizen inspired to fight ISIS alongside the Free Burma Rangers, embraces a joyful Sky.

God promised that His Word would
bear fruit wherever we sow it. I’d like
to help others like Sky Barkley plant
the seeds of the gospel all over the

Click here to learn more.

Related Topics:  Evangelism

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